Wander project puppy day!


Today in the US is National Puppy Day. (this blog is published 3 days in arrears), Our puppies are a little older. They are both Lab Rescues. The Lab Rescue of Maryland and Virginia to be exact. They have been together, the two of them for five years in just two weeks. Raven joined our family in April 2014. Dylan joined our family in June 2012. In between the arrival of Raven, we still had Fran who passed away in March 2014. 2014 was a bad year for our family. But today is a celebration day. In the spring of 2014, we decided to get a second dog. Fran was older and had a leg injury (torn ACL) that limited her ability to walk. I wanted a dog that could go on walks with me, so I didn’t have to walk alone.

As happened with the adoption of Fran, My daughter and I spent some time thinking, researching and selecting a dog. It was my daughter who said: “we should adopt a rescue dog.” We met with the LRMV folks; they decided that we were worthy of a second dog. It was interesting we filled out a survey and had a home visit before we were allowed to adopt a new pal. We went through the same process when we got Raven two years later. Then we started working with a coordinator to find the right dog. It was in late m May of 2012 that we were informed that there was a possible dog for our family, would we be interested. We had originally said, female, but the dog they found was male.

We drove down to Richmond, and Dylan joined our family. He is a lab mix, with some hound other than Lab in his background. He doesn’t bark, the bays. Richmond VA is roughly 2 hours away from DC, and nearly 3 hours from Maryland. We ended up going to the house where Dylan was with Fran. Fran never liked Dylan. But she tolerated him. We picked Dylan up and drove home. Raven was also picked in Richmond VA. She was on the east side of Richmond, Dylan was on the West Side. Where Fran never liked Dylan, Raven and Dylan were besties from the first moment they met. Raven also picked the Twins as her people. So today we celebrate the graduated puppies in our house!

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Wander project Wander to warm!!!!


I have been sharing lots of pictures of vacation Dylan and Vacation Raven. Yesterday evening as we were completing our daily walk, one of the twins reminded me of the Virginia Beach vacation. That was where Dylan decided he liked Potato Latka’s, a lot. We left a bowl of dog food out in our hotel room, for the three days we were on Virginia Beach, he didn’t eat dog food. Vacation Dylan doesn’t eat dog food. Vacation Raven does, but vacation Dylan takes the full opportunity not to be home, Dylan. Dogs on the furniture, dogs as family members are arguments I have with people from time to time. I have always believed that dogs or cats are members of the family.

If they get on the furniture, oh well.

My favorite pictures in this collection come from early in our second visit to Oak Island North Carolina. We had enjoyed going the year before with my family, so we went a second time. The pictures, in the beginning, today are off early in the week. I think either the first or second day. It has to be the second day because I took the filter off the camera after the first day.  Ruined a really good sunset with the filter, I had on. Anyway, the kids spent the first part of the week convincing Raven that moving water was ok. I suspect she ran afoul of moving water in the time before she joined our family. She didn’t like moving water when she first joined our family.

In the first couple of days, one of the twins would carry her into the water. She looked upset but not terrified. Raven had joined our family four months before and had picked the Twins as her original people. Little did we know that Raven had a long game that involved converting my wife into her person as well. The long game worked, my wife is now as devoted to Raven as the Twins are. She, in their eyes, can do no wrong! Anyway the first couple of days the twins would walk out into the water carrying her. By the end of the week, she would get in the water. Now she gets in without worrying; I guess the good memories of a forever home wipe out the bad memories that came with her to the home. Raven, like Dylan, is named for a poet. She is named for the object of Poe’s poem The Raven. Her full name is Raven Poe Andersen. When she does something, she is not supposed to do we add a second middle name (Raven Poe Marie Andersen) for effect. Dylan’s name is Dylan Thomas Andersen for the poet!

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dog lover

Wander project dogs, places and greetings…


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There was a recent movie, A Dog’s Life, that I didn’t go see in the theaters. Not that I didn’t want to see the movie, but just watching the commercials made me cry and I couldn’t go to a theater and cry for two hours. Those are the movies I need to watch at home so I can watch or read something really funny right after finishing the movie. I learned that after reading the book “Marley and me” while traveling. Also, with the journey’s we’ve taken as a family with the dogs around us. I remember every single dog I have ever been around. From Mac the collie, Anna Banana the Dachshund to Frosty and Duo the Great Pyrenees or Phoebe the Newfoundland. Every dog that lived with us changed the course of our journey. Phoebe was a second mother, always watching us and waiting to be with the family. MacGregor was a beautiful collie. He loved us but he was dad’s dog. He lived literally to see and be around dad.

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The journey we take and the ones that dogs take with us really is pretty incredible. First of all, there are those who love more than anything to hang out with cats as well. They see cats the same way that I see dogs. Which is wonderful. They are companions on the road of life! Anyway today’s journey is about the changes dogs make to your family. They, the dogs, have changed as have cats. From their natural and traditional habitats and lifestyle to living with humans. They are the prowlers at night that wander your house and make sure everything is safe. You don’t often hear about guard cats, but guard dogs are not mythical. They are real additions to your home or business. Wandering around at night making sure that everything is where it is and that is where it should be. Sometimes the best part of having a dog or cat living with you, is the greeting when you get home!

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Now, when they get to come with us, in their eyes, that is much better. You see then they can make sure we don’t get into trouble or cause mischief. Raven is always nervous when her boys are out and she isn’t supervising them. Much as Fran used to want to be supervising Jakki, all the time. Dylan has given up trying to train me, other than making sure I don’t yell at the TV while watching sports. Then he nips my feet to remind me to be quiet. We have had dogs living with us now in every house we have ever had. Duo lived with us in our rental house in Bloomington before we moved to Cincinnati. Blackie joined us in Fairfield Ohio and lived with us until we moved to Western Hills. Gwen joined us in Western Hills, Mt. Airy and Greenwood. Fran lived with us in Greenwood and Maryland. Dylan joined us while in Maryland living in Gaithersburg and moved with us to Germantown. Raven joined us in Germantown, three years ago now. Dogs are wonderful additions to our life!.

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dog lover

Wander project Christmas 2015 (and wandering the campus of IU)


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As we wander to Christmas 2015 we see Raven clearly in charge of the driving process. She joined our family after the passing of Fran. In many ways Raven is a game changer. A force of nature, rather than a Labrador. She found a way to be pals with everyone in the house. She is a great car rider, a great walker and great boater. She is also a huge goofball. This taken in the van on the way to Grandma’s house. It is funny how dogs transform traveling. First off you have to be careful where you stop. But you also stop more because you are worried that they might have to go. We tend to stop less now that the kids are older. But more with dogs than we did before if that makes sense. The trip to Indiana from Maryland takes us through Pennsylvania. If we want to take the turnpike it saves about an hour and costs 16 bucks. If we take the on-toll road way then we lose an hour or so but it cost s16 bucks plus the extra cost of an hour of car gas.

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Dad taught at Indiana University, Barb and I both graduated from IU. This is the new media school that IU has added. It is in the old campus actually one building away from the old quadrangle and the Sample Gates. The Sample Gates are the most photographed entrance to Indiana University. They were added after we moved out of Bloomington. I think that Sample Gates is an odd name. I suspect someone named Sample donated the money to build the gates, but still there has to be a better name. Across the street from the Sample gates is Bloomington’s downtown. Right across from the actual Sample Gates (the end of Kirkwood Avenue) is the building that used to hosue the Gables. The Gables are famous as it used to be a lounge years ago. There was a piano and legend has it that Hoagie Carmichael actually wrote the song Stardust in the Gables. I love the song. The link takes you to a YouTube music of the song!

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There is my crew hanging out with Herman B. Wells. When I went to IU Wells was still alive and still active on campus. He was the chancellor at the time I was a student. He was famous for walking campus and talking to people. This picture was taken in the old quadrangle of Indiana University. All the buildings are more than 100 years old. It is also the home of the wooded area in the center of campus and the campus telescope. I got my first glimpse of the universe from that Telescope. We wandered the campus of Indiana University, it was empty because they students had all gone home for the holidays. Well there were a few non-local students still wandering campus but for the most part we got to wander on our own. 2015 was the second straight Christmas trip Jakki couldn’t make, she had to work around the holiday’s. So we were one person short on the trip. As your children get older the moments you get to spend with them become more precious, because eventually they begin to become less and less.

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Family Historian

A place that was and a dog that just arrived and took over.


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Beck Chapel, the Campus of Indiana University. I loved this place when I was a student. I solved many of the world’s problems here, sitting and thinking in and around the Chapel. It was a place of quiet resolution for me.

My first marriage (the one that didn’t work) was held here. I won’t say more except that neither of us was ready to be married, but our relationship had reached that point of what do you do next. So we did what we thought we were supposed to and that isn’t always the best direction to take. Anyway, I love this campus. I have many memories of wandering this campus, of the preacher who would stand just down from Beck Chapel and assail us with our failings and the end of the world.

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Raven comes for comfort when she is unsure of either herself or the situation. She is an amazing dog. Dogs come into your house with their baggage. You have your baggage. The impact of the dog is how they work their way into your lives. I can’t remember the last time we watched a movie and Raven wasn’t curled up with one of us, snuggling and verging with us. She has the Alexander Haig “don’t worry I am in charge” personality of a female lab, but at the same time she loves snuggling more than she loves being in charge. I remember the day she joined our family. We were working with the incredible Maryland/Virginia Lab rescue group. They find labs that need to be rescued and well you get the idea. We had been looking for a second dog after Fran passed. Dylan was lonely, the kids were lonely and we needed a new dog.

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We had specific requirements. Dylan is so chill we needed a dog that was able to work with a chill Lab. We were looking for another female lab. There were a number we considered but in all cases they were adopted before we could decide or just didn’t fit. We drove down to Richmond Virginia to meet Raven. Funny that both our rescues are from the Richmond Virginia area. She bounded up to the boys greeting them as though they were long lost friends of hers. She and Dylan hit it off, so we decided to take her home with us. That was 20 months ago. We have learned that she doesn’t like thunderstorms. She isn’t as bad now, as she once when she first joined us, but she hates thunderstorms. She is a horrible food thief (if you leave food anywhere she can reach and leave the room the food is gone). But she loves her family. She adopted the boys right away as hers. She yells at them, snuggles with them and makes them do whatever she needs done. Shortly after arriving Raven decided that Barb belonged to her as well. She began making an effort to win Barb over. Barb grew up with small dogs, and throughout the reign of Fran was never really favored by Fran. Raven, however, has won her over. Now Barb even claims 1/3 of Raven as her dog. When she gets home at night after a long day, Raven hops on the couch and they put their heads together.  Her full name is Raven Marie Poe Andersen. We added the Marie because she needed a fourth name. Raven because she is Raven colored. Poe, because it continues our current author or literary character dog name theme (Dylan Thomas).

I watch the horrible stories of what people do to dogs. I cry and give money to the organizations that help rescue dogs in terrible places. But there are also many forever home stories that are touching and show that people do care, they do love dogs. Raven’s forever home is forever changed by Raven. I can’t remember life without her and I don’t want to!

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Raven’s blogger

Good morning Raven and back to Hawaii…


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There are dogs that join your family and the family adjusts around them. There are dogs that join your family and well the family moves two steps to the right, not to adjust but to embrace. Raven is a force of nature. Small problem with eating everything in the pantry when given the chance but she is the sweetest dog.

She choose the boys as hers the first day she was in the house. She yells at them and bosses them around. Its really kind of funny. When Raven doesn’t want to do something she plops. Literally just becomes a bag of bones and you can’t move her. But she loves her boys.  Raven had a tough time  before she joined us. She is like Dylan and Tamsyn a Rescue dog.

When we were on Maui we ended up at this really cool outdoor mall. The next photo is a picture of the malls pavilion.

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The whaling museum was in the mall. It wasn’t bad it was a well done museum it was just scary for me. I had nightmares that night about what I saw. Not that I am a flower that needs protection. I’ve seen a number of things in my life that were unpleasant. Its just that was a way of life for a lot of people and I guess I don’t understand.

The mall reminded me so much of Bangkok when I was  a kid. Well Bangkok now but when I was a kid it was still more traditional where as now it is a little more like every other city on earth. I used to think that cities were moving towards the western model. I realized that the western model had evolved and that big cities were moving towards the big city model. A combination of the best of eastern and western city components. I guess its why I love cities that are still a mix of old and new. It just is more interesting to me.

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Then you have pictures that convey a message. As the photographer I took this picture to show something. What? I don’t recall. It was near the water fall used in Fantasy Island. There was a part for the native bird behind that fence. But why that particular section of fence as a picture I do not know. I understand why photographers don’t share their images based on this picture. But you have the share. The beauty of digital pictures you take is you can make a billion copies and keep on copying! Just like the old Carpenters Song “sing, sing a son” don’t worry if they aren’t professional pictures. Few of us have the magical eye to take the greatest picture. It’s the stories you tell with the pictures if you aren’t a good photographer. Or better if you are good photographer and not a good writer than it’s the images you share. Put them out there. The new world order is all about snapping a moment and sharing it. I believe you should share all the moments. Even the ones before the digital age. Even the ones that you feel aren’t good enough.

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Avid Photo Sharer…

The regularly scheduled blog is interrupted for Labrador propaganda…


109A2214There is something to be said for flowers of the tropics. I know I can find 1000 or more pictures dad took of various flowers in Thailand. Two huge differences being when Dad took them he thought scientific name of the flower first and then that it was pretty second. Me I think pretty flower first and in this case red second.

Dad spent years trying to teach me the various Latin names for flowers and plants. I learned early on to avoid poison ivy and poison oak, self preservation but the lessons in Latin failed. Ask me the components of a motherboard and the difference between PCI and EISA buses or E-Sate and I am happy to do so.

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This is Dylan. Dylan decided when he joined our family that he was my dog. That meant in the end that I had some behavioral issues that had to be addressed. The first issue was me yelling at the TV during IU Basketball games. He ended that by attacking my feet as I was yelling. So no more yelling. The second was walking. Dylan has long felt that we didn’t take enough walks in the house. So we walk every day now. The other complaint he has is that I put dumb pictures of people stuff on my blog. He wants me to dedicate more blog space to cute Labradors. In particular himself and his sister Raven.

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Raven agreed with her brother. Its funny, Raven joined our family in 2014. Fran passed away and there was a huge hole that she left. Dylan had adopted me as his primary person and Jakki as his second person. He is a mellow dude and he really doesn’t understand the energy of the boys. We decided a month after Fran died that waiting a year (which we had after Gwen had died) didn’t work. We reached out to lab rescue to see if they had any dogs that might work for us. They didn’t have any dogs but they did have a force of nature. Raven is personality plus. For whatever reason her first owners abandoned her or lost her and she was on her own for a bit. She came to the house and within a day she and Dylan were a bonded Lab pair. She also selected the boys as her people right away. Like Dylan Raven found there were many quirks of the humans that had to be adjusted. The first is that when it is time for something Raven wants she howls at her boys. Raven is a sweet girl who loves everyone. Dylan is more affectionate now that Raven is a new sheriff in town. I still miss Fran and I miss Gwen, but Raven changes the dog dynamic in our house.

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This blog lab tested and lab approved…